New research from unbiased.co.uk has found that UK taxpayers are wasting billions in unnecessary tax payments due to lack of awareness, insufficient knowledge or apathy. The 2015 Tax Action report, in partnership with Prudential, reveals that total waste this year could top £4.9 billion, through unused allowances across ISAs, pensions, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.1
But it really isn’t hard or complicated to improve your tax efficiency – as shown by these quick tips from Karen Barrett, and the unbiased.co.uk advisers.
Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk:
“My top tip would be visit a financial adviser. Our research shows that three quarters of taxpayers haven’t done anything to reduce their tax waste in the past year. We can’t all be tax experts, but we can all pick up a phone and talk to one. You could save a lot more than the cost of any advice simply by rearranging your finances and taking what’s rightfully yours. Take a look at our Find an Adviser Checklist first, so you’re prepared with the best questions to ask.”
Les Cameron, tax specialist at Prudential:
“Tax planning requires triple vision - a focus on the best tax efficient return for your savings while invested alongside the tax position when you put your money in and get it back out again. Get the balance right and you’ll not have to pay unnecessary tax now or in the future.
“Using a professional financial adviser will help provide clarity in finding the most tax efficient way for you to invest your money over the longer-term.”
David Penny, Invest Southwest:
If you are saving for anything at all after age 55, consider using a pension. The tax advantages are massive. Even things like mortgage repayment, school and university fees can benefit, now that George Osborne has introduced such high levels of freedom. Of course with this freedom comes more responsibility, so getting unbiased advice is more vital than ever.
Mike Horseman, Cockburn Lucas:
There are plenty of legitimate tax planning strategies you could consider, such as owning private equity via a Venture Capital Trust (VCT).
Jonothan McColgan, Combined Financial Strategies Ltd
If you earn more than £50,000 you start to lose your entitlement to child benefit. However, by making a pension contribution you can actually reduce your taxable earnings below this level, and so preserve this benefit for your family. Simple but effective!
Alistair Cunningham, Wingate Financial Planning:
It's generally more profitable to invest in ISAs at the beginning of the year, and the allowance is rising again. Take advantage of the full allowance if you can afford to, and as early as possible.
Tony Larkins, Beacon Wealth Management Ltd
If you’re going to cash an investment, check first to see if any capital gains tax liability exists, and consider assignment if so. In general, use all your tax allowances wherever possible – not just ISAs but also pension and inheritance tax.
Jason Hollands, Tilney Bestinvest
Give your investment portfolio a ‘detox’ review before putting any new money into ISAs or pensions before tax year end. By doing this at the start of the year, you will go into the tax year end period with a much clearer idea of the areas you should focus on.
Rebecca Aldridge, Balance: Wealth Planning
Don’t forget the many potential tax advantages of being in a couple. Your partner has the same capital gains and inheritance tax allowances as you, and if they are in a lower income tax band then an adviser can help you use this to your benefit as well.
For a free and confidential search for a whole-of-market financial adviser, visit www.unbiased.co.uk
Notes to editors:
1 TaxAction Report 2015 has been produced by Opinium Research on behalf of unbiased.co.uk. All figures are based on calculations done on unrounded values to guarantee accuracy; text paragraphs display rounded figures. Survey results come from an Opinium online survey, commissioned by unbiased.co.uk, of 2,003 UK adults aged 18+ carried out between 14th and 17th November 2014.
For more information contact:
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With over one million visitors a year, unbiased.co.uk is the UK's biggest and most versatile search for regulated and independent advisers. We enable consumers and businesses to find the best financial and legal advice from a choice of over 24,000 IFAs, financial advisers, mortgage brokers, solicitors and accountants. We also make it easier to find the right advice by providing information, insights, tools and other resources to facilitate consumer choice.
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